The Six Mother Sauces: A Beginner’s Guide To French Cuisine

Support Our Work

Since 2011 Setupmyhotel has been helping hundreds of hoteliers around the world. Support Setupmyhotel by becoming our Patron!

Derivatives of Basic Mother Sauce’s

Basic mother sauces are the foundation of French cuisine and consist of five sauces: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Tomato, and Hollandaise. These sauces can be further enhanced by creating derivatives, which are variations that incorporate additional ingredients or flavors.

One popular derivative of Béchamel is Mornay sauce, which adds cheese to the base sauce. Velouté can be transformed into a supreme sauce by incorporating heavy cream and egg yolks. Espagnole can be turned into Bordelaise sauce by adding red wine and shallots. Tomato sauce can be transformed into Arrabiata sauce by adding chili peppers and garlic, or into a Puttanesca sauce by adding anchovies, olives, and capers.

There are numerous other derivatives that can be created by modifying the mother sauces, making them more versatile and adaptable to a wide range of recipes and culinary styles. Experimenting with these sauces and their derivatives can open up a world of possibilities in the kitchen, allowing for endless creativity and culinary exploration.


  • Cream sauce: Chopped onions are reduced with white wine and then cream is reduced in the same pan. Now some béchamel sauce is added & whisked in. More cream is added till the correct consistency is obtained and the sauce is then strained.
  • Sauce Mornay: Grated Cheddar cheese is added to the cream sauce and it is strained.
  • Sauce Fine herbs: To the cream sauce, some chopped tarragon, parsley, and chervil are added. In place of chervil, we often use thyme.
  • Chilly Mornay: Some bell peppers are lightly sautéed in olive oil, & paprika powder is added to it. Mornay sauce is poured over this till the flavor is obtained & it is then strained out.
  • Sauce Nantua: To the cream sauce, add very fine crayfish butter and small cooked crayfish tails.


  • Sauce Allemande: Quiet simply, this is a veloute thickened with egg yolks and flavored with mushroom liquor, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg. (This sauce is also known as sauce Parisienne)  
  • Sauce Supreme: This is a chicken veloute enriched with cream. It should be very white in color and delicate in flavor.
  • Sauce Ivoire: To one-litre sauce supreme, add three tbs. melted light-colored meat glaze, just sufficient to give the acquired ivory tint to the sauce. Suitable for serving with poultry.
  • Sauce Normande: To fish veloute-add mushroom liquor and cooking liquor from mussels and fish stock, all in equal proportions, a few drops of lemon juice, and thickening of egg yolks with cream. Reduce this to 1/3 of its volume. Pass through a fine strainer and finish with some more cream butter. This can be used for large numbers of fish dishes.
  • Sauce Joinville: Prepare Sauce Normande and finish with equal parts of crayfish butter and shrimp butter instead of cream and butter.


  • Sauce Chasseur:  Melt butter in a small pan, add. chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms and sauté. Add white wine, reduced by ½, then add equal parts of tomato sauce and sauce demi-glaze. Add meat glaze, simmer gently, and finish with chopped parsley (In some methods of preparing Sauce Chasseur some brandy is also added)
  • Sauce Bordelaise:  Reduce red wine in a small pan. Finely chopped shallots, a little pepper, bay leaf, and a sprig of thyme to ¾. Add Sauce Espagnole and allow it to simmer gently, skimming as necessary. Pass through a fine strainer and finish with. Melted meat glaze, the juice of ¼ lemon, and 50 gm. Bone marrow is cut into small slices or dice and poached. This sauce is especially suitable for serving with grilled red meats. (Originally this sauce was made with white wine but nowadays wine is always used)
  • Sauce Bourguignonne: Reduce red wine in a pan with sliced shallots, a few parsley stalks, a bay leaf, a small sprig of thyme, and mushroom trimming ½. Pass through a fine strainer (you may thicken it by adding Beurre Manie). Finish at the last moment with frozen butter and a little cayenne. This sauce is especially suitable for serving with egg and dishes designated A’ La Bourguignonne.
  • Sauce Diable: Place white wine in a pan. Add chopped shallots and reduce by 2/3. Add sauce demi-glaze and allow to simmer slightly for a few minutes then season the sauce strongly with cayenne pepper. This sauce is especially suitable for serving with grilled chicken. NOTE: Vinegar may be used instead of wine and chopped fine herbs may be included in the reduction.
  • Sauce Piquante: Place white wine and the same amount of vinegar in a pan with chopped shallot, reduce by ½., Add sauce Espagnole, bring to a boil, and simmer gently, skimming as necessary for 10 min. Remove from the heat and finish with 2 tbsp. of chopped gherkins, tarragon, chervil, and parsley. This sauce is usually served with boiled, roasted, or grilled pork.
  • Sauce Poivrade: Heat oil in a pan, add a mirepoix comprising of. Carrots, onion, little parsley stalks, a pinch of thyme, and a crushed bay leaf and cook until lightly colored. Moisten with vinegar, & marinade and reduce by 2/3. Add sauce Espagnole and allow to simmer gently for 45 min. A little before passing the sauce add crushed peppercorns and pass through a sieve then add some of the marinades again. Bring to a boil, skim, and carefully simmer for approx. 35 min. to reduce the sauce to the required quantity. Pass and finish with. butter.
  • Sauce Madeira: Reduce sauce demi-glaze until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and add Madeira wine Pass through a fine strainer and do not reboil.
  • Sauce au Porto: This is prepared in the same way as Madeira replacing the Madeira wines with Port wine.
  • Sauce Robert: Heat butter in a pan, add finely chopped onion, and cook without coloring. Moisten with white wine and reduce by 2/3. Add sauce demi-glaze and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and finish away from the heat with a pinch of sugar and some English mustard diluted with a little water. This sauce is usually served to accompany grilled pork.
  • Sauce Vin rouge: Heat butter, add the finely cut mirepoix, and cook to a light brown color; moisten with good quality red wine and reduce by ½. Add some crushed garlic and Espagnole; skim & simmer carefully for 12-15 mins. Pass through a fine strainer and finish with butter, a little anchovy essence, and a little cayenne pepper. This sauce is especially suitable for serving with fish.
  • Sauce Matelote: Place red wine court – -bouillon in a pan with mushroom trimmings. Reduce by two-thirds and then add Espagnole. Simmer gently for a few minutes and pass through a fine strainer. Finish the sauce with of and lightly season with cayenne pepper.


  • Sauce Choron: Prepare a Sauce Béarnaise, omitting the final addition of tarragon and chervil and keeping it fairly thick, add up a quarter of its volume of tomato puree which has been well concentrated or reduced so that the addition will not alter the consistency of the sauce.
  • Sauce Foyot: Prepare a Sauce Béarnaise, keeping it fairly thick, and finish with melted meat glaze added a little at a time.
  • Sauce Maltaise: Prepare a Sauce Hollandaise and at the last moment add the juice of 2 oranges (reduced) and a good pinch of grated zest. Goes well with asparagus.
  • Sauce Paloise: Prepare a Béarnaise but while doing this replace the principal flavoring of tarragon with the same quantity of mint in the reduction of white wine and vinegar and replace the chopped tarragon with chopped mint at the final stage.
  • Sauce Mousseline(Chantilly): Prepare Sauce Hollandaise and at the last moment carefully mix in. stiffly whipped cream.


  • Sauce Tartare: To mayonnaise sauce add chopped gherkins, capers, shallots, parsley, and chives.
  • Sauce Verte: Blanch rapidly for five minutes spinach and watercress & a mixture of parsley, tarragon, and chervil drain well. Refresh quickly and squeeze out all the water. Pound the leaves then squeeze them firmly in a clean cloth to obtain a thick herb juice, Add this to well-seasoned mayonnaise.
  • Sauce Mousquetaire: To mayonnaise add finely chopped shallots which have been cooked and completely reduced with white wine, some melted meat glaze, and chopped chives. Season the sauce with a touch of cayenne or milled pepper.
  • Sauce Remoulade: To mayonnaise add and mix in Mustard, chopped gherkins, chopped capers, parsley tarragon chervil, and some anchovy essence.
  • Sauce Gribiche: Mix cooked yolks of egg with mustard, salt, and pepper and gradually add oil and vinegar as for Mayonnaise. Garnish with chopped Capers, gherkins, and fine herbs along with the julienne of hard-boiled egg white.


  • Chaud Froid Sauce – Preparations of Chaudfroid sauce omit the use of meat, and these can be prepared as a brown sauce, a white sauce, and a red sauce using tomato purée. A simpler preparation of Chaudfroid sauce without the use of meat can be made by using Espagnole sauce, adding ingredients such as Aspic Jelly, gelatin, cream, and sherry, and cooking the mixture.[15] Another simpler preparation technique that lacks meat involves the use of allemande sauce or velouté sauce and other ingredients.
  • Nantua Sauce – is a classical French sauce consisting of a Béchamel sauce base cream crayfish butter crayfish tails It is named for the city of Nantua, which is known for its crayfish, and the term à la Nantua is used in classical French cuisine for dishes containing crayfish.
  • Portuguese Sauce – The Portuguese sauce is a hearty tomato sauce made with sautéed onions, garlic, tomato concassé and parsley. Tomato concassé (pronounced “conk-a-SAY”) is a fancy culinary term to describe tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped.
  • Provencale Sauce – The Provençale sauce is a fragrant tomato sauce made with sautéed onions, garlic, capers, olives, and Herbes de Provence. It’s delicious served with meat, poultry, and fish. This recipe also features tomato concassé, which is a fancy culinary term to describe tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
In conclusion, the six mother sauces have served as the foundation of French cuisine for centuries. Each sauce has its unique flavor profile and can be used to elevate a variety of dishes. Whether you're a professional chef or a home cook, mastering these sauces will undoubtedly improve your cooking skills and impress your guests. With their versatility and timeless appeal, it's no wonder that they continue to be essential components in modern culinary arts. So why not experiment with these sauces in your next meal? Your taste buds (and dinner guests) will thank you!
Spread the love

Back Office Job Description Banquet BAR Beverage Service Cashiering Chef Chef Training Cleaning Concierge Duties and Responsibility Engineering Executive Chef F&B Setup F&B Training Finance Food Service Front Desk Front Office Formats Front Office Setup Front Office Training Guest Room Guest Services Hospitality Basics Hotel Formats Hotel Security Hotel Staff Job Description Hotel Staff Training Housekeeping Formats Housekeeping Setup Housekeeping Training Kitchen Kitchen Basics Kitchen Training Maintenance Maintenance Technician Reservation Restaurant Sales SOP SOP F&B Service SOP Finance and Accounting SOP Front Office SOP Housekeeping SOP Kitchen Staff Training

Support Our Work

Since 2011 Setupmyhotel has been helping hundreds of hoteliers around the world. Support Setupmyhotel by becoming our Patron!

Learn more